Welcome to the Hedonic Treadmill


Welcome to the Hedonic Treadmill. Population: All of Us.

Sometimes I still get myself a little frisson of excitement about how cool the little gadget I’m carrying is, how chuffed I am to have my Todo list all organized on it, and my music all sorted and at the ready, etc. I think that’s a weird kind of consumerist mindfulness. I’d seriously suggest people do that – take inventory of the blessings bestowed upon you by an engineering savvy society – from crisp clean water, hot showers, and flush toilets, to public health saving us from a bajillion ailments, to our crazy ability to travel at 60 mph like it ain’t no thing and hundreds of miles faster than that for a reasonable sum, to the way our little gadgets have access to SO much information, and provide (for worse but generally better) a constant lifeline of contact with our loved ones. Be thankful for all this stuff, because it’s well-nigh miraculous.

But it’s old news. In fact it’s been just a gradual incline from the Palm days – with some spikes for me, like at the launch of iPhone (where it added a good browser for wifi in my pocket and subsumed my iPod) and some other times (when the GPS became good enough to drive with, when the camera became deft enough to make the PowerShot seem superfluous, when the cellular network made non-wifi use more than a novelty)

People who gripe about “oh there’s no innovation”- well, they’re not wrong, but rarely do they have any damn suggestions. Some of the stuff I’d find useful…. like, a REALLY intelligent, context-aware Siri, or glasses with the ability to help with my face blindness – are technically possible but privacy nightmares. (or if the processing could be done locally, are awaiting advances in power cells) Other advances remains hypothetical scifi tech – like a true holographic display ala Star Wars (but with better coloring than a 1970s B+W TV) Or a physical screen that could add bumps and divots to itself so as to improve ergonomics. (Though come to think of it I’m not sure how either of those last two would change my pattern of living all that much)

But yeah, “we’re removing bezels”, whoop-de-doo. Oh, and besides that our phone is REALLY thin – truly the modern pinnacle of designer wankage.

On the Apple front, if they manage to really nail facial unlock, I guess some people might dig that.

If Apple announced Pencil support on the high end model, that in combination with the dual camera (but not the giant form factor) might get me to upgrade, but until those boxes are ticked for me personally I’ll be pretty cool with my SE for a while. (FWIW, I think I like the middle form factor better now, but SE is good enough.)


Kirk wrote the above in response to this article.

1 thought on “Welcome to the Hedonic Treadmill

  1. I often stand still and marvel, especially when it comes to my phone. It was all I ever wanted not all that long ago, for my Palm, my phone, my mp3 player, my books and my camera to all mate together and have what I hold in my hand now as their off-spring… and then some!

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